The second review in my four review personal penance- Rio. Haven’t got anything else to say.

Rio (2011)
I imagine the ideas meeting after Ice Age 3 came out to be one with an air of sweaty desperation. After realising they needed a money-in-the-bank 3D kiddie spectacular to fill the gap whilst some poor soul is tasked with squeezing another Ice Age film out, I believe that there was a deathly silence at Blue Sky Studios. I envisage about 15 people sat round an extremely shiny table all looking like they’ve shat themselves and don’t want to let on to the others. Suddenly, one of them ventures: “How about Hot Age?” and instead of being laughed at and brutally shanked, they’re praised and work immediately goes into refining said prick’s idea. That’s the amount of thought I believe went into Rio.

“What is natural about getting thrown halfway across the room?”

Rio is the story of Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) a rare Spix’s Macaw who was snatched from the Brazilian rainforest as a chick. He is smuggled to snowy Minnesota where he is found and adopted by book shop owner Linda (Leslie Mann). After 15 years together, things suddenly change when Tulio, a Brazilian ornithologist, tracks Linda and Blu down and tells them that Blu is the last male of his kind and must mate with a female, Jewel (Anne Hathaway), to preserve the species. Thus, the trio head to colourful, exotic Rio in order to save the Spix’s Macaw from extinction. The story’s alright, I guess. It’s making kids aware of certain environmental concerns, which I’m always in favour of. What I don’t get is why Scientist Guy couldn’t take Jewel to Blu, rather than the other way around. Sure, we wouldn’t have a film if this happened, but still- weak sauce. Jesse Eisenberg repeats his Mark Zuckerberg, fast-talking nerd performance and it works well. Anne Hathaway was just the female lead- nothing here to stretch her talents.

Rio is an amazing looking film. The colours, the animation and the rendered Brazilian locales are all stunning. Having seen it in eye-friendly 2D, I couldn’t comment on the 3D, but I’m sure it would mostly be a waste of time. Thing is, there’s not much else going on here. The character development’s weak as shit, with the only interesting character being the villain- Nigel, a vicious Cockatoo (yes, you read that right) voiced by Flight of the Conchords‘ Jermaine Clement. His song is genuinely funny and a real high point. However, Nigel has a posh British accent so not many points can be given for originality. Will Hollywood just not be happy until every American mistrusts the British? We’re not so bad. Some of us are downright decent people, you racist fuckpigs.

Thing is, there’s no real love between the computer-generated cartoon lovebirds. They bicker a lot, mainly because Blu can’t fly (guess how that turns out) and then suddenly they’re in love. It’s so flimsy. The excuse “it’s a kids’ film” doesn’t wash with me. Pixar and Dreamworks have both delivered funny, touching films as entertaining and touching for adults as they are for younglings. There is no excuse for a lazy story. Especially if you’ve had to mortgage your house to pay for you and your family to see it in 3D .

“I’m a feathery freak with a beak / a bird murderer. You think you’re badder than me? / I never heard o’ ya!”

Rio just seems like a needlessly expensive advert for Brazil.  Everything you’d expect to see in a film set in Brazil appears- Ipanima Beach and the Christ the Redeemer statue make an appearance. Obviously, Blu happens to be there during Carnival so everything is a mental mix of glitter, huge floats and skimpy costumes. The film will undoubtably entertain the young’uns. There’s a high-energy musical number every 10 minutes or so and as I said, it’s very pretty to look at. It’s occasionally funny, but most of the time, you’ll be waiting for the animated bastards to sod off into the sunset and leave you alone. Still, the countdown for Ice Age 4 begins here!

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